Execution … I guess there could be a little ambiguity about how I’m using that word. Do I mean the execution of God’s plan aka the God fix? Or do I mean the execution of Christ Jesus?
Let me clarify … my answer is ‘Yes’.
Execution … that’s a harsh word. Yes, and crucifixion is a harsh way to die.
A couple of posts back, I shared a passage of Scripture that Paul wrote that ended with this question …
Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Romans 7:24 (NASB)
Paul actually answers his own question in the subsequent verse …
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:25a (NASB)
God’s plan … the God fix … is executed IN and THRU Christ Jesus alone. Jesus is the ONLY way to be born again and saved. And that brings me to a question
Can you articulate what born-again truly mean?
A little confession … I called myself Christian for two decades or more before I could truly understand the ‘foolishness’ of being born-again. Jesus explained it to Nicodemus:
Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:3-8 (NASB)
When a man is born again, He is born again of the Holy Spirit (btw … it’s amazing how little teaching emphasis is placed on verse 8) … but first … Jesus must depart or go away …
“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. John 16:7-11 (NASB)
Not only must Jesus go away but He must also be glorified before the Holy Spirit can be bestowed upon believers …
“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:38-39 (NASB)
But before rebirth would be possible, before the Holy Spirit would begin to indwell born-again believers … Jesus must be crucified … executed … He must die and be buried … be raised up … resurrected … by the Father … then return … ascend to heaven … and be exalted to the right hand of God.
Then … and only then … will the Holy Spirit begin to indwell every born-again believer …
Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells IN you? 1 Corinthians 3:16 (NASB)
The Holy Spirit is a pledge, a promise, a seal of the believer’s eternal inheritance …
IN Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed IN Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:13-14
Natural man … once indwelled by sin and evil … as a born-again believer now finds himself indwelled by God (Father, Son and Spirit) and in the process of the Lord’s sanctifying, perfecting and saving work also finds that sin and evil are being evicted from his inner man … part of the God fix at work.
What man first observed as the Holy Spirit descended as a dove upon Jesus in the Jordan River, what man first experienced as the Holy Spirit filled the disciples at Pentecost … is now received by every born-again believer with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit … the promised Helper.
(to be continued with … Helper)